Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ipsy April 2014 Review

I am a big fan of routines. I pick less-than-desirable parking places just so I can park in the exact same spot every time I drive somewhere. I order the same thing every time I go to a restaurant. I have uttered the phrase "I hate everything new" on more than one occasion. As a result, it's bizarrely distressing to me that I am reviewing Ipsy before I review Birchbox this month BECAUSE THAT IS THE WRONG ORDER, YOU GUYS.

For some reason, though, according to my tracking information, my Birchbox has been hanging out in Indiana for five days, so that review's gonna have to wait on deck.

Here's what I got this month:


As always, Ipsy came in a makeup bag. It has a record player on it. I don't have strong feelings about the bag design.


Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in Black Velvet (0.03oz), approximate retail value $15


I was pretty excited to receive the new Urban Decay eyeliner pencil, which was just released last month. It was made with smudging in mind, for maximum smokiness, like burning bacon in a small kitchen.


To be frank, I am not a big fan of the smudgy liner look most of the time. I prefer crisp and clean lines. Still, I have used this for both a smudgy look and for regular tightlining (my usual pencil liner look) and it holds up for both purposes.


I would agree that the formula is a little more slick than Urban Decay's traditional black liners in Perversion and Zero, making it easier to smoosh up your lines as desired. Still, if you hadn't told me that this was the function of this liner, I probably would not have noticed, as the formula feels much more similar than different. All Urban Decay 24/7 pencil liners apply smoothly with rich color and stay put once applied (even when smudgy).


In terms of color, Black Velvet is darker than Zero, but grayer than Perversion. Additionally, Perversion looks much cooler in comparison to the warmer-toned Black Velvet.

From left to right: Zero, Perversion, Black Velvet
If you already own either Zero or Perversion, I'm not going to necessarily recommend that you run out and grab this, too. However, if you know you want something smudge-able and you're shopping for a pencil liner, I do think that this one performs well.

Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow in Champagne (full size at 0.07oz), retail value $12.99


On the packaging, this shadow literally claims that it is going to change my life. That's a really high standard, especially given how much eyeshadow I own. Well... it didn't do that. But I did think it was perfectly nice!


The color is like a bronzed up version of Stila's Kitten (although it doesn't have Kitten's softness or pigmentation).


It swatches fine and is a very usable, practical color, even if it's neither life-changing nor particularly special.

Mary Kay At Play Jelly Lip Gloss in Teddy Bare (full size at 0.32oz), retail value $10


Good news, you guys! I found it! You can stop looking. This is officially the worst lip gloss of all time.

I have never tried Mary Kay products because I try not to buy from companies that could reasonably be mistaken for a pyramid scheme. Luckily, if this product is indicative of the brand's quality, I am definitely not missing anything.



Let's start with the packaging. This looks like something that a 12-year-old would have purchased in the mid-90s. What adult, modern woman wants to own something so visually wretched? From the white cap to the squeezy tip, this looks like something that the dollar store would throw away. Then, the name, "Teddy Bare" manages to turn this train wreck into something really creepy. Infantilization? Yuck.

In comparison to the product inside, though, the packaging may as well have been designed by Alexander McQueen. I would say that a lipgloss is sticky if it had 1/3 the tackiness of this terrible goop.  This is like putting half-dried Elmer's Glue on your mouth, but only it Elmer's Glue sunk into the lines of your lips.



To top it all off, the color is disgusting. When someone says the phrase "anal leakage", this is the color that comes to mind. A diluted, unflattering light brown.

This is the BEST I could POSSIBLY make it look. It took like ten minutes to make this picture from being nauseating.
I hate literally everything about this product. I hate the business model and the ethics of the company, which preys on women struggling to make ends meet and requires them to purchase products for a career that, statistically, is incredibly unlikely to be lucrative. I hate the color of the product. I hate the texture. I hate the packaging. I hate how it wears.

This is the worst lip gloss. It is Guinness Book of World Records-worthy.

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant (0.25oz), approximate retail value $9.75


I cannot get over how ludicrously priced this product is. It's $78 for TWO OUNCES. I cannot imagine that the average Ipsy subscriber is fitting a cleanser this expensive into their budget.

There is absolutely nothing about this cleanser that is special or that justifies this price. It's simply using regular old aluminum oxide as an abrasive. You can buy the same sort of product from fucking Neutrogena. Why would you pay for this?

Also, for the record, it's really rough, and I say this as someone who generally doesn't have problems with physical exfoliants. It's not only overpriced, it's right out as an option for anyone with sensitive skin.

Big Sexy Hair Root Pump (1.6oz), approximate retail value $2.71


This is a traditional textural mousse in an aerosol can.


Here's my hair sans any sort of product:


Here's how I look with the Big Sexy Hair Mousse added:


I think it did a pretty decent job of holding together the sporadic waves that I do have in my hair, so I was pretty happy with the product.

Bonus: TokyoMilk Dark Femme Fatale Collection Lip Elixer Lip Balm in No. 42 La Vie en Rose (full size at 0.7oz), retail value $7.00


This was a bonus item for referring folks to Ipsy. It was advertised as "Salted Caramel", but I ended up receiving La Vie en Rose. I saw a few people got both, and I can only assume that they sold their souls to the devil to receive such special treatment.


The product is 0.7 oz, so it's just slightly smaller than a 0.8oz tin of Rosebud Salve. Like Rosebud Salve, it's a petroleum jelly-based product.


To me, the smell is a pleasant milk of florals and peaches. Those are two of my favorite things, so I'm quite pleased with it. Plus, the packaging is so dang cute. It also gave a nice relief for my lips after that sticky Mary Kay monstrosity.

Total Box Value (Without Bonus): $50.45
Total Box Value (With Bonus): $57.45

Here's how I look with everything from this bag piled on my face:

This is as smudge-y as my eyeliner gets. 
And here's a close-up of my eye:


Overall, I'm not disappointed in this bag. I think it is consistent with the quality I expect from Ipsy. Nothing transformed my life, but the only thing I won't use at all is the lip gloss.

If you suddenly feel the need to join Ipsy, you're always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.

59 comments:

  1. "It took like ten minutes to make this picture from being nauseating" - I cannot so reading this as nauseated, as in you were so nauseated that it took ten minutes for you to calm down enough to click a shutter.

    I am also delighted by your obsession with routine, because then maybe you have Asperger's and I do too! That's not one of my "traits" BUT STILL.

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    1. I can only assume that my camera was also nauseated.

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  2. I LOVE that smoky liner on you. Gorgeous. And hilarious as always. I spluttered when I read "anal leakage." Not something I want to put on my face.

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  3. Love the rant on the lipgloss/mary kay ha, totally agree. I've seen some other people's bags and they seemed nicer - there was a pigment, a non marykay lip product, a st.tropez product. Surprised at the variability between the bags (I'm not subscribed)

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    1. Yeah, there is definitely a bit of variation... and quite a few things I would have preferred! The Demeter fragrance, Benefit's Lollitint, the Rainbow Honey nail polish, and City Color mousse would all have been preferable.

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  4. the eye look is gorgeous, great reviews as always! i have heard good things about the Tokyo milk but I have a smith's that will take me forever to finish at the moment.

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    1. I love their packaging and the price on their perfumes. I tried a perfume sample from them that I really didn't enjoy, so I wish I had a good opportunity to smell some of the other fragrances to see if any are up my alley.

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  5. 'Anal leakage' ROFL. I thought I was doing well horrifying people recently when I mentioned faecal aerosols in a rather random conversation recently, but linking anal leakage to lip gloss takes the cake :-D I'm actually glad (not for you personally, but sort of generally) that a company as terrible as Mary Kay produced a lipgloss that was equally terrible. Maybe some day they will cease to exist because of such rubbish.

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    1. Or at least get their act together and treat their consultants appropriately...

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  6. This must be the month for horrid Ipsy lip products. I received the Cailyn lip "balm." I thought "balm" meant "soothing." Apparently not, for this awful stuff is like dabbing liquid chalk on my mouth. I swear it leaves brush marks. To get it to work, I have to use (real) balm both before and after application. It also wins the WTF Award For Weird Packaging.

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    1. I was going to say the same thing! It's the worst. The packaging is fucking INSANE, it makes no sense and takes up a huge amount of space.

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    2. Did you notice that if you pull on the top of the lid it comes off and has a brush? That said, there's nothing balmy about it. I found it really drying too. More like matte lipstick in a pot.

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    3. I have previously got that in an ipsy (different color). I am pretty sure the developers have literally no idea what a lip balm is.

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    4. Boy, you are not kidding on that lip "balm." Luckily(?) the color I got is horrid on me in addition to the texture being terrifically bad, so I don't feel compelled to try to make it work somehow.

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  7. Your rant on MLMs is spot on and perfect. When I was a college student a lot of my fellow students tried selling Mary Kay, which means I went to more than a couple of parties. And of course I was always talked into buying something. Mostly I was unimpressed with it. I never used up the products I did buy. And there were a couple that were just horrid, the face wash for example caused really horrid break outs along my cheek and chin- worse then my teenage acne breakouts. And I know it was the face wash because the minute I stopped using it, they went away. That was the last product I bought from them, and I don't feel bad about not going back.

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    1. I am so glad that Mary Kay was not a big thing at my college. We did have a lot of those Pure Romance sex toy parties, though, which are the same thing, but with dildos.

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    2. yeah but at least then you have dildos instead of terrible lip gloss!

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  8. I love reading ipsy reviews and think yours is fun and clever. I had to laugh at your comment about Mary Kay. I lived next door to a girl who sold Mary Kay in college and her room was like the portal to pyramid scheme hell. Constant badgering us to have makeovers and makeover parties. I bought one lipstick from her for $14 and it was horrid.

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    1. Oh, man. Are all their products terrible?

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    2. I have tried a handful of their products from when a friend of a friend was selling - she lived across the country so I basically just placed a few website orders under her page link. This was, oh, 6-7 years ago? The mineral eyeshadows I got were pretty nice (better than similar drugstore things, and I wasn't shopping higher end much yet). The lip products were OK but nothing special.

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    3. I was just going to comment and say that I have a friend that convinced my mom and I to get 'makeovers' because she's selling MK. I went in with the lowest expectations ever and came out pleasantly surprised. The foundation actually became my new go-to. The mascara wasn't bad but definitely not worth the price. And I ended up getting the lip balm but I mean in terms of lip balm that's a pretty basic product that is hard to mess up. I just really loved how soft it made my lips in the moment so I got it. So they do have some good products but I didn't try too much so I can't speak for anything else. Doesn't make a pyramid scheme any better.

      That said, the mary kay @ play packaging looks like if AOL and marykateandashley makeup (do you remember that?) had a baby. How they aren't getting sued by the both of those companies is beyond me lol

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  9. I am so annoyed with myself for not having subscribed to Ipsy!! grrrr!!!! I'm literally drooling over half of this box!

    I will say, I just bought MK's mineral powder, the loose stuff, and I've been wearing it over my wet n wild dupe of tarte, I actually like their powder! I got a free lipgloss from them as well, which i enjoy. I think it must be the grown up lipgloss because it looks nothing like the above mentioned one.

    I have a friend on fb who sells mk and she is so annoying that i'm about to unfriend her.

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    1. You can always change your settings so that you see none of her posts!

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    2. I thought about that! She has a super cute little kid, and I like seeing those pics and stories, but good grief, 5-9 posts a day about how MK can change your life? I really want to post a snarky comment like, You should get a page for your business! But I am refraining myself. For now :)

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  10. The MK At Play stuff is designed for high school/young college kids, which is why the packaging is that style; it's meant to be inexpensive. Still, that is definitely the ugliest color, and it's unfortunate they couldn't send you one of the better products. My mom sells Mary Kay and is fairly successful at it, and I have and enjoy a lot of the things they offer.

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    1. That makes sense but DAMN I HATE IT SO.

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  11. I have to say I was laughing out loud when I reached your description of the Mary Kay lipgloss! My only memories of Mary Kay were a pushy neighbor with a closet full of make-up products, and having a few of the Velocity items way back when. I've had a half-empty Velocity Shadow Box in Sweet Heart since middle school and I severely romanticized the gold shadow. I ran out of it years ago and could never find a suitable dupe to what I thought was my holy grail warm gold shadow, so I recently purchased the quad on ebay and... I'm massively disappointed in what I had remembered as amazing.

    Long winded story aside, your ispy review have made me seriously consider subscribing. I had Birchbox for a year and have barely used any of the products since, but ipsy seems to hit the mark of good products considerably more than Birchbox ever did!

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    1. Yeah, I have a lot of fun trying out things I really liked before I knew what I was doing, haha. "Oh, wow. This is terrible. And I bought eight of them."

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  12. On me personally, the new UD actually wears better than Zero or Perversion do for some reason, though I find they apply about the same. But I also have pretty oily lids, so maybe that as something to do with it. I actually like super sticky glosses because they're the only ones that manage to stay on my face for more than 5 minutes, so I didn't hate the texture of the MK one, but I agree the colour is kinda gnarly, so I've worn it a couple times super sheered out over a lipstick. I would never consider buying it though because, like you, I have qualms with their business model. Got the scrub as well. Nice, but nothing special enough to warrant the price tag. Eeek.

    I also got the mini polish (beautiful colour and I'd always wanted to try the brand. Will likely pick up some full sizes) and the roll on perfume. Not usually a fan of getting scents, but as it's the first one I've gotten from Ipsy in almost 8 months, I don't mind, and it's not terribly atrocious, so I'll use it at some point for something. Out of all the sub boxes/bags I've received (5 different ones), Ipsy is the only one I've stuck with, as a) they send the most makeup out of all the subs I've tried (hate getting skin/hair stuff. Moisturizer is boring and I have hair down to my bum that's super thick, so hair samples are rarely enough for one use, let alone multiple to see any benefits), and b) the sample sizes are by far the best and c) they offer one of the biggest ranges of brands at different price points

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    1. I was hoping for both that polish and the Demeter scent! I hope they work well for you.

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    2. Rainbow Honey is awesome. I've been buying from them for about a year. They do glitterbomb really well, but their shimmers are straight up fantastic.

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  13. I laughed so hard at your description of the Mary Kay gloss. Anal leakage with the consistency of half-dried glue? Who could possibly resist THAT?!

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    1. I used to work in marketing. It's a gift.

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  14. I'm so so so happy that I'm not (supposed to be, I don't count anything out until my stuff shows up) getting that gloss. Gross. And now I can't un-see the anal leakage color. I'm ok with it, though, because it's gross.

    Oh and if you like the TokyoMilk balm, you need the Salted Caramel one. I just outright bought it from Sephora a while back. Delish.

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    1. I feel like I would just want to eat it. And I would go around buying salted caramels at every available opportunity.

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  15. I have a mk gloss but in a pretty grape color...that is also the stickiest thing I have ever used. Way stickier than those stupid stila click up glosses...worst thing ever.

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    1. And the Stila glosses are quite sticky!

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  16. I'm on the ipsy waitlist and the wait is killing me. (also I used your referral link. holla.)

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    1. I believe you can share something something something on facebook I don't know and skip the wait. (I'm not sure how it works, obviously.)

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    2. You can, and if you are sufficiently sneaky, you can share it privately, thus not spamming your friends (which I do with a lot of games).

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    3. Unfortunately, I don't Facebook. 8(

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  17. I also received the MK gloss in Teddy Bare and tossed it immediately after trying it. The color was not flattering and looked patchy. Also, as a godless single woman, the MK philosophy of "God, family, career" rankles me. No more MLMs or PLMs, Ipsy!

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    1. Are you trying to tell me that sticky lipgloss isn't going to convert you???

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  18. I decided to try ipsy and am very perplexed by the tracking. It took one day to get from NC to CA, five days to get from CA to WA, and it has been sitting 30-odd miles away waiting to be handed to the postal service since early Monday morning. It also looks like the only product we will get in common is the eyeliner, which is sort of a relief looking at that lip gloss...

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    1. I try not to pay too much attention to tracking for ANYTHING (except when I order live aquatic animals, which I do on occasion) or I will get frustrated and confused about how little sense it makes.

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    2. I would really love to see a post about your fish! I see you on /r/aquariums every now and then, and I think a post here about proper goldfish care could really do a lot of good!

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  19. Sometimes getting a product that is SO BAD really brings me a special kind of joy. I would have been stoked to get a lipgloss that was that shit. The Tokyo Milk balm is adorable.

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  20. HAHAHAHAHA Your description of MaryKay @ Play made me laugh out loud at work!!!!!!!!!! Too funny! I just received my Ipsy bag and also got the Urban Decay eyeliner and microdermabrasion product. I tend to stay clear of exfoliants because I have sensitive skin... so I'm not sure how I feel about it! Also, yes, glad I got it in my bag though just to try because 2 oz for $78 seems really really high and I wonder what is so special about it!

    Thanks for your review!

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  21. You made me go re-check my glam room (my Ipsy hasn't arrived yet). Our bags are the same except for the anal leakage gloss. I got a Starlooks lip pencil instead. Oh, the relief.....

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  22. I got the same products as you - with the exception of the eye shadow ( I got a mini rainbow honey nail polish). That MK lip gloss is without a doubt the nastiest product I have ever receieved in 11 months of Ipsy bags. Absolutely revolting. I hope they read all the heinous reviews people are leaving about it on the website and never pull this kind of fuckery again !

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  24. Ew, Mary Kay. I was pretty disturbed when I found out even the pink Cadillac dealio is some sort of "we pay a car lease for you depending on how much product all the people you've recruited in your pyramid scheme order" thing. If MK wasn't ridiculous sounding enough before it got to that point.

    But yay for Tokyo Milk. When I saw it in the picture, I knew it was too good to have been something in the actual box. (I got a bit...disillusioned with ipsy. They kept sending me hair products. I don't generally use hair products.) I heartily recommend the Coco Noir flavor. I'd love to try Salted Caramel, but I have too many lip balms to buy another one. I do NOT recommend the Clove cigarette flavor, it smells and tastes disconcertingly like licking a clove cigarette. Like...I swear, it has a paper note to it. I could not stand it, and I am someone who has regularly smoked clove cigarettes.

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  25. Oh... Pyramid schemes. My mom was obsessed with a direct sale company when I was in my teens that sold literally EVERYTHING. Vitamins, makeup, diet pills, pet cleaners... All of it dodgy and off-brand, of course, but priced like they were made of unicorn glitter.

    If I ever accidentally left a friend alone, I'd come back to discover them being forced to watch her marketing VHS. One time, we had my friend's family over for dinner, and SHE PUT THE VIDEO ON DURING DINNER. So there'd be no escape. Needless to say, they never came over again.

    I also had a FB high school friend who messaged me during a cancer scare with a heartfelt letter of sympathy... which segued into an pitch to sell me essential oils, because she didn't "like to see her friends suffer". (This made me feel profoundly sorry for her more than anything, because she had so much potential in high school).

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  26. As for Ipsy—whee! I was pleased as punch with this month. UD liner, Elizabeth Mott eyeshadow (love the brand), jasmine fragrance (love demeter, love jasmine), Calyn lip "balm" (ok, this is drying and the packaging is whack, but I'd been wanting a pink nude for a longass time). Even the exfoliator (which I will use but not buy) because I um... love exfoliating.

    Birchbox, on the other hand, sent me body lotion, face wash, shampoo/conditioner foil samples, eyebrow gel (ugh), and a granola bar. The granola bar was the only thing that got me really excited upon opening, but that was because I was starving at the time. This is also the second month in a row that they've sent me body lotion and shampoo.

    Incidentally, the shampoo and conditioner smell amazing amazing enough that I did consider purchasing, but turns out they cost $22 and $33 for a measly 250 mL each(!!!). I'm not against spending that much for hair wash, but I'm against paying that much for... that much. Canceling BB once I spend my points.

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  27. You made me sad, because I really, really love the Dr. Brandt exfoliant. I love the smell and the action. I have dry, flaky skin that needs to be exfoliated every other day or else it is just a mass of nasty flakes for my foundation to cling to. I hadn't looked up the price yet when I read your review. Do you have another similar product to recommend that's not so pricey?

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